Flash Book Reviews

One can tell when a field is beginning to take off with innovation and excitement because the number of good people and then great books starts to explode - and such is the case with Flash. There are now three great references to Flash's ActionScript. See our Flash References review in the Flash tutorials for all the details. But these books concentrate on ActionScript and the development side of Flash Mx.

But designers are certainly not getting the short stick at all with Flash. And here are four Flash books that show that design is not just alive but it is very well thriving in the Flash arena.

The first book, Flash Mx Game Design Demystified by Joe Makar , might seem a little fluffy and off topic. However, Makar's book is the very opposite. It gives both the designer and developer of a Flash animations some of the crucial grounding in animation - when to ActionScript when to design and assemble cels; what the physics and math behind interactions; how to deal with word games and text; what is involved in multi-user play - in

short, by playing in Flash Mx, designers and developers learn a wealth about delivering great pages with Flash. What adds to the value are 4 well chosen games which bring out different aspects of the new Flash Mx environ.

At the introduction of Flash Mx, everybody in our group was commenting about the new data processing and component capabilities in Flash Mx. In fact the argument was even made that the designers and artist who had brought Flash to such popularity had been short changed. Short changed ?. What about a new easier and more user customizable interface? Or better drawing facilities with very important skew, distort, and pattern fill functionality ? And best of all great new video support in Flash - what about this much enhanced video capability ? . Well, Janet Galore and Todd Kelsey in Flash Mx Design for TV and Video and Kristian Besley plus friends with Macromedia Flash Mx Video would apparently agree that Flash video is the place to be. With the Consumer Electronics Show in January 2003 being the launch point for so many PC-based media centres - here is the how to get in on that and the growing Web video broadcast arena. And these are splendid how to texts. No rah rah Flash; but rather solid tips and examples of projects that underline the trade-offs and illuminate the pitfalls to be avoided in using Flash Mx and other tools to deliver smart video.

finally, for you audio-philes Brian Kozak and friends have delivered the equivalent with Flash Mx Audio Magic. However, this program looks at working with some music creation and editing programs (Acid Pro and Sound Forge) along with video editing tools (Video Vegas) in some very hands on projects. These are included on the CD. So developers of Flash videos and animations can see some of the tricks for synchronization and control available with the new Flash Mx. For example, a colleague's kiosk application really profited from some of the dynamic sound shaping capabilities (quite mall - less volume, etc) that the book suggested a way to apply.

And this is just the tips of the iceberg on the excellent books that are beginning to appear on Flash Mx design and delivery capabilities. Web enablement with Flash/PHP, 3D high quality animations and renditions, and eLearning are some of the other books appearing now and will be covered in more detail in the future or at our graphics-rich site - thePhotoFinishes.com


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